A job loss doesn’t mean a loss of identity

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4 Responses

  1. Gerry Fleischman says:

    Patti is right about it being an opportunity to work on thing you care about, but it also seems to be true that age discriminationis alive and well. It is ironic that at a time when the nation needs more people working to produce more, that younger people (at least in my case) are only too happy to get rid of older workers. Experience and knowledge appear to have no value to younger generations.

    • Patti says:

      Gerry, I have heard several “mature” workers express the same thoughts. I know as I was coming up through the ranks, I was in awe of those with institutional knowledge and experience who could teach me what they knew. I don’t know if the learning model has changed to reflect today’s fast pace and need for instant info. Witness our schools, which are giving our students laptops and online courses and getting rid of teachers so as to save money in salaries. I’m wondering if these are the type of practices that teach young people how to view experience and knowledge. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Diane Ronayne says:

    Thanks for sharing these observations, Patti. May I add that the same thing (loss of identity) CAN happen at retirement. Granted, that kind of job loss is at the worker’s discretion (usually), but the existential question “who am I, now?” rears its ugly head in much the same way. For men, in particular, retirement and the loss of identity it fosters can literally be deadly. What I, as a brand-new retiree, am learning is it’s important to continue to calendar activities as I did when working, only this time they’re what I want to do instead of what my clients expect me to do. Physical fitness is suddenly something I have time for; also, more talks and gatherings with friends, mind-stimulating classes from Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the joy of working with clay in Kerry Moosman’s handbuilt pottery class, and all kinds of plays and concerts. When these are on my calendar, I have lots to look forward to when I awaken (at a luxuriously late hour, now!) and that anticipation keeps me happy and healthy mentally. Perhaps calendaring at least one fun event every day could do the same for job-seekers.

    • Patti says:

      Diane, great observation about retirement, and one I hadn’t thought of. I have heard of people who retire and basically lose their zest for life, because all they had was their work. I love your examples about how you stay active and keep learning – I think keeping some level of structure in life is important. When I lost a job I still got up early every day, got dressed, sent emails, did research, made calls, and met people for coffee, just to stay connected. Hard to do, but it worked. Your idea of calendaring in something fun every day is smart (we should all heed that!). Another suggestion I’ve read for folks who’ve lost their job is to try to do a bit of volunteering and helping others. Not only is it a way to learn new skills and meet people, but it also takes the focus off your own problems and helps others. Basic good karma! Thanks for commenting.

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